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Crazy D, L’il Sis and I sat around the kitchen table yesterday discussing chocolate. I’ll bet you didn’t know there was much to discuss, did you? You like it or you don’t (if you’re a fool) like it. I personally was never a discerning eater of chocolate– in the sense that I didn’t care if it was dark or milk, was environmentally virtuous or the cocoa beans picked by Trappist monks or  gorillas. As long as I got my fix, all was good. But not my offspring.

As a little treat, I brought Crazy D and L’il Sis chocolate from Tasmania. One bar had chilli peppers and the other, ginger.  A simple enough gift, I thought. But no…they ate and enjoyed the Aussie chocolate and then launched into the aforementioned discussion of chocolate. L’il Sis insists on buying only organic, free trade, 85% dark chocolate. Her favourite is, as she calls it, “The Choco-cocoa Blue Bird Bar” (so nicknamed for the bird on the wrapper.) As far as I can tell, eating chocolate does not come with the moral imperative that it be untarnished by cruel labour laws, unsustainable environmental practices, or wards off heart disease or cancer. It just has to taste yummy. But that shows how foolish I am.

Both Crazy D and L’il Sis admit to having their own private stashes of their favorite brand. (This is as opposed to the Communal Stash in the kitchen drawer — the Costco special, box of small Lindt bars that gets us through our emergency ‘sugar lows’ of an afternoon.)

Gill, for reasons unknown to me, hasn’t been afflicted by the Family Chocoholic gene. (Her foil-covered chocolate Santas from two Christmases ago still stand sentry in the kitchen cupboards. Gill loves the foil, couldn’t care less about the chocolate.)That’s okay since The Pig has taken up the slack. She is a true chocoholic and that’s a problem since it is toxic to dogs. Does The Pig care? No, she does not. She will root it out and find it wherever it is hidden. I recently had to explain The Pig’s latest indiscretion to Gill: “I heard this blood-curdling scream. L’il Sis charged down the hall, Piggy in her arms. And you know that’s hard to do since she weighs close to 50 pounds! L’il Sis threw her in the bathtub and proceeded to pour hydrogen peroxide down her gullet! Poor dog. It was supposed to induce vomiting to get the toxins out but it didn’t work immediately. Then L’il Sis shoved her hand down Piggy’s throat. Eventually it worked and she barfed all over the tub. Then she was fine…the tub and the drain, not so much!”

“That’s terrible, Ma. She’s worse than we were as kids, getting into every foodstuff we weren’t allowed.”

“Don’t remind me…I recall you guys one day begging off school, claiming a stomach bug. Then I later found little muffin cups filled with peanut butter, honey and butter hidden all over the house.”

“Oh, we were conducting scientific experiments, Ma. As in, how long will it take L’il Sis to barf when she eats dairy? Or how long before I went into gut spasms from peanut butter. It was great fun!”

“Hmm…maybe that explains the funny gouge marks I saw on a pound of butter in the fridge yesterday. You don’t suppose L’il Sis’ craving for butter has returned, do you? Maybe she’s still walking in her sleep and scraping the butter without knowing it.”

“If that’s the case, you’d better watch your indoor plants. She might start digging up and eating the soil from them like she did as a baby.”

“Ah, yes, the magnesium deficiency in her diet. Honestly, what is it with you three…even as adults? I mean, chocolate, butter and dirt does not a balanced diet make.”

“It’s almost as bad as your popcorn and ice cream dinners, Ma!”

“You had to bring that up, didn’t you?”